Note: Gusto doesn't offer all services and support to employers looking for government payroll.
Contact us from the Help or Priority support section of your account if you need any help setting up your account.
These are the steps you'll need to take when you're setting up your company’s Gusto account. Depending on your business type and who you'll be paying, questions and steps below might vary.
After telling us a little bit about how you plan to use Gusto, complete the following onboarding steps in order to start processing payroll.
As a reminder, we will not start filing any returns—including $0 returns—until the company starts reporting subject wages and taxes in a location (e.g., has a check date with subject wages in the quarter).
When you’re setting up your account, we may reach out to request additional documentation as Gusto must remain compliant with banking and financial institution regulations. The additional information helps verify your identity and make sure your account is secure.
Failing to respond to the information requests on your Home page will prevent you from completing the onboarding of your company—you will not be able to process payroll until a response is received.
Q: Why am I being asked to provide my Social Security Number (SSN)?
A: We require your SSN so we can verify your company signatory and employees’ identities. We also need SSNs to prepare tax documents for your employees.
Q: Why do I have to use a checking account to run payroll?
A: You must use a checking account for the company account in Gusto because savings accounts often have a limit on monthly transfers.
What's a PEO?
A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) is an entity that acts as an employer on your behalf. When you join a PEO, you enter a co-employment relationship, and the PEO becomes the employer of record for your employees.
PEOs typically file and pay payroll taxes using the PEO's own Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) and account numbers. When you switch from a PEO to Gusto, it's always a fresh start. If your past payrolls were processed with the PEO's EIN and account numbers, you won't need to enter historical payrolls when onboarding with us.
What's a CPEO?
A CPEO is a certified professional employer organization—being certified by the IRS means that wages can carry over when you switch to another provider.
At this time, because the IRS handles CPEOs differently than PEOs, Gusto only supports switchers at the beginning of the year.
Before you switch to Gusto
Register for your own EIN and state tax accounts if you don't already have these in place. If you were a registered employer prior to joining the PEO, you may need to contact the state and/or local agencies to reactivate your old EINs. You'll need these account numbers to complete the setup in Gusto.
When to switch
If the PEO used their own EIN and state tax account numbers to process your payroll, you can switch over to Gusto at any time (this can vary depending on the requirements of the states in which you have payroll).
The smoothest transition is typically at the beginning of a new quarter or new year, after you've obtained your own EIN and state tax accounts needed for payroll.
Heads up: If the PEO used some, or all of your company's own tax EINs for payroll, you can only switch over to Gusto at the beginning of a new quarter. This will prevent two quarterly filings from being submitted to tax agencies on behalf of your business (one from the PEO and one from Gusto), which is not allowed by the IRS and most state and local agencies.
A contractor payments account can be used to pay 1099 contractors without adding W-2 employees.
These accounts include:
These accounts do not include:
Keep in mind: You cannot use Gusto for contractor payments if you're using any other payroll service.
New customers receive 6 months of $0/mo base fee and $6 per contractor per month. After this, the cost is $35/mo base fee every month and $6 per contractor per month (in the months they are paid).
If you add a W-2 employee, you'll be asked to select if you'd like to be on our Simple, Plus, or Premium plan.
1. Fill out employee onboarding forms
When you hire a new employee, you’ll need to gather some info. First, they’ll need to fill out a W-4 form to tell you how much income tax they want to be withheld from their paychecks. Next, they’ll need to fill out the I-9 form to prove they are allowed to work in the U.S. With the I-9 form you’ll also need to check their passport or other ID, as outlined in the instructions on the form. Once these are complete, make sure to keep them in your records. If you are using Gusto, we will automatically store these forms electronically for you.
2. Report your new hires to the state
When you hire a new employee you must report some info to the state where they will be working. The state uses this information to find people who owe government-mandated debts, like child support. This report should be filed by the due date required in your state (often within 20 days of hire). If you are using Gusto, you can choose to have us file this report for you.
3. Get Workers’ Compensation insurance
Almost every state requires employers to have Workers’ Compensation insurance. Depending on your state rules, you can get this insurance through either a commercial carrier or through your state’s workers' compensation insurance program. Workers' comp provides benefits to your employees and covers your business in case of employee illness or injuries that occur while your employees are on the job.
4. Get workplace posters
There are certain posters that you must post in your offices depending on the city, county, and state where your business is located. Check out this Department of Labor’s Poster Advisor tool to find the required posters for your location and get printable versions of them. Some online companies, like the Labor Law Poster Store, also offer these posters for purchase.
5. Follow employment and labor law requirements
It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with labor laws that may apply to you, such as minimum wage, wage garnishments, termination issues, and contractors classification. A great resource for this info is the Department of Labor’s Employer Guide. We also recommend checking out the U.S. Small Business Administrations' 10 Steps to Starting a Business. The information they provide discusses everything from writing a business plan to applying for licenses and permits.
6. Health Insurance
If you’d like to offer health insurance to your team, make sure that you meet ACA regulations. If you have benefits managed by Gusto, we’ll help keep you compliant with ACA regulations by managing your pre-tax payroll deductions, offering a 1095-C to applicable companies, providing your newly hired employees with the ACA Marketplace Notice, housing the section 125 document in your account, and keeping you aligned with your current policies and insurance carrier.